Creationists often pretend that getting criticism that points out their ideas are completely invalid is a validation. It's enough that they can get a scientist into a debate; even if they are hopelessly outclassed, babble and lie and treat a scientific debate as if it were a tent revival, they will afterwards strut and preen and pretend that their participation alone makes them a legitimate member of the scientific community. Dawkins made this point in his essay, "Why I won't debate creationists",
Sometime in the 1980s when I was on a visit to the United States, a television station wanted to stage a debate between me and a prominent creationist called, I think, Duane P Gish. I telephoned Stephen Gould for advice. He was friendly and decisive: "Don't do it." The point is not, he said, whether or not you would "win" the debate. Winning is not what the creationists realistically aspire to. For them, it is sufficient that the debate happens at all. They need the publicity. We don't. To the gullible public that is their natural constituency, it is enough that their man is seen sharing a platform with a real scientist. "There must be something in creationism, or Dr. So-and-So would not have agreed to debate it on equal terms." Inevitably, when you turn down the invitation, you will be accused of cowardice or of inability to defend your own beliefs. But that is better than supplying the creationists with what they crave: the oxygen of respectability in the world of real science.
Well, now Francis Beckwith has now fallen squarely into that good ol' creationist tradition of crowing triumph where there is none.
Contine reading "What's that whining noise?" (on Pharyngula)